Tennessee Titans Thursday Throwback: Three Best Coaches in Franchise History

Tennessee Titans Coaches

The Tennessee Titans franchise, previously the Houston Oilers, has been in existence since 1960. The franchise won the first two AFL Championships and four division titles. In 1970 they joined the NFL. In the 51 years since they haven’t achieved the same success as the decade in the AFL. 

Current head coach Mike Vrabel assumed the coaching duties in 2018 and has led the team to three consecutive winning seasons. Their Cinderella run in 2019 is still fresh in the minds of fans of the two-tone blue. At this current pace, Vrabel could find himself on this list in a few season’s time, but for now, he remains short.

Bum Phillips

Phillips started as the team’s defensive coordinator in 1974. He was named both head coach and general manager a year later. After his tenure, he became the winningest coach in Oilers history with a 59-38 record. Under his leadership, the franchise reached the AFC Championship Game in back-to-back seasons. Both times they were unable to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, who ultimately won both Super Bowls. 

At the time both teams were members of the then AFC Central Division, which was one of the NFL’s most competitive divisions, which is why they remain rivals to this day, although they are no longer in the same division. The two in the mid-70s were considered the best two teams in the NFL. Phillips held the head duties through the 1980 season and lands third on the list.

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Jerry Glanville

Like Phillips, Glanville started as the Oilers defensive coordinator in 1984. He was named head coach in 1985. Glanville was in a rather difficult position as the franchise had struggled the most of the decade to that point. With him in charge, the team became a hard-hitting, aggressive bunch, particularly on defense. He also mentored future Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who many believed, coming out of college wouldn’t fare well in the NFL and led to him starting his career in Canada. Glanville liked what he saw and built the team around Moon’s strengths, which led to the team’s success.

He led the Oilers to three playoff appearances, in his final three seasons at the helm. After his tenure with the franchise, he was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, before returning to college ranks, a stint in the CFL, and most recently defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Vipers in the now-defunct XFL 2.0. He edges out Phillips for the No. 2 spot on the list.

Jeff Fisher

Fisher lands in the top spot on this list. He served as head coach for more than 16 full seasons with the Titans franchise after coach Jeff Pardee was fired in the waking weeks of the 1994 season. Fisher amassed a 178-171-1 coaching record, in a career that spanned over three decades. He played a critical role in the team’s move from Houston to Tennessee. Fisher’s most successful season, and arguably the franchise’s, was in 1999. That year, they led the Titans to their first and only Super Bowl appearance in XXXIV. The Titans famously fell one yard short of forcing overtime, which would’ve been the first in the history of the Super Bowl, at the time.

He continued to coach the Titans until the end of the 2010 season. In 2012, he returned to coaching, for the team who kept him from becoming a Super Bowl winning coach, the St. Louis Rams. Not all was rosy for Fisher in his time at the helm of the Oilers/Titans organization, his hesitation to start Vince Young, led to the fan base and the team’s owner, Bud Adams losing confidence in him. He is blamed for ruining Young’s career. He is also referred to as 7-9 as that was his most repetitive season mark. Regardless he is the rightful guy for the top spot.

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